Sometime last week, @YukoFinnegan923 started following me on Twitter. A few days later, she stopped following me. Y U NO FOLLOW ME YUKO? I just now tried to find the account and it no longer exists. Fortunately, I took a screenshot of @YukoFinnegan923 from “Minneapolis, MN” while that cutie still existed. I already knew it was a spam account. That bit.ly URL still works and goes to mycheapjobs.com. The website offers an assortment of Internet tomfoolery, such as backlinks to gin up you search-engine optimization (SEO) results, sites with 1,000 Google +1’s built-in, Twitter accounts with 500 followers at the ready, etc. I’ve long been fascinated by the ways people are tricked by the Internet. Recently, Newt Gingrich’s hapless presidential campaign was accused of buying twitter followers. Gingrich’s campaign denied it. The former Speaker of the House got his 1.3 million followers legitimately, his campaign said. Some reporters and pundits also scoffed. But then a new a people-search site, PeekYou, claimed it had researched Gingrich’s Twitter account and found only 8 percent of his followers were human. Douglas Main at Popular Mechanics wrote an excellent piece about trying to figure out what number of followers anybody has are spam or phony. I decided to do a little investigating of my Twitter followers.
@QUENTINALOVE is so sexy. I’m glad she decided to follow me, but a few things didn’t ring authentic. Putting aside her weird bio line of “An Uplifting Breast Augmentation,’ her tweets seemed obsessed with teeth. And she also looked a bit familiar. So I used the TinEye image-search service and found out the picture belongs to the actress Hayden Pannetiere.
So @QUENTINALOVE is spam. Who else was spam?
@Rebeckagb66 is interested in comparing T. Rowe Price and Vanguard. Smart girl. Thinking about the future. But wait!
@Suzannnv27 tweeted the exact thing at almost the exact time. Suzann wasn’t following me. I found her in the list of followers for similar accounts that all provide links to similar looking Websites that appear designed to perform SEO trickery. I tried TinEye on these avatars and came up with nothing, so they are likely stolen from Facebook, which does not allow Google to crawl through its data.
Are most of my followers fake? Surprisingly, I did a pretty thorough scrolling and recognized most as real, either people or local businesses or media companies. Once or twice in the past I went through my followers and purged phony looking accounts. It’s too much work so I don’t bother anymore. I don’t care about followers much anymore because I’ve determined the great value of Twitter is in who you follow, not whether you have 400 followers and only follow 14. In that case, Twitter becomes a vanity platform. I tweet because I know about 15 or 20 people actually pay attention and maybe a tweet here and there will spin out to a wider audience. But if you’re reading this Rebecka Carvin, show me some retweet love. It’s the least you could do you cute little robot.